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How to Manage People Who Always Want to Argue with You


by Glenn Shepard
August 11, 2015
Category:  Management


Kingsport, TN Aug 12

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A woman asks her husband "Why do you have to argue all the time?"

He responds "I don't argue all the time!" (If you didn't get the joke, read on because this article might be about you.)

Have you ever worked with people who just have to argue with you for the sake of arguing? They place a higher value on winning than anything else Ė even when they're wrong.

You can say the sky is blue, and they'll say itís red. Even though it is blue, they get gratification from the phantom power they think they gain by not conceding that you're right.

So whatís the difference between unhealthy arguing, and a healthy discussion?


A healthy discussion is when two people share their respective viewpoints with each other, peacefully. When two people can agree to disagree but do it respectfully, they can discuss just about anything.

Arguing is when one person won't let up until they get the other person to concede.

For example, I'm a Protestant. I once had a discussion about God and religion with a Catholic sitting next to me on a flight to Chicago. He had no delusions of converting me to Catholicism in a one hour flight, and I had none of converting him to Protestantism. We both learned a thing or two about opposing views on religion, and shared a few laughs.

But there are terrorists who label anyone who doesn't share their radical views as "infidels", and see that as justification for cold blooded murder.

So am I comparing people who like to argue with terrorists?


Arguers cannot peacefully coexist with people who don't share their views, and neither can terrorists. Both have the attitude of "I will punish anyone who doesn't agree with me". The only difference is that terrorists attack with physical assaults, while chronic arguers bombard their victims with never-ending verbal assaults.

Chronic arguing is a form of anti-social behavior (another commonality with terrorists), and it is very difficult to work with anti-social people.

As a manager, you have authority over employees who always argue. Just as with so many other employee problems, the solution lies in one word: "Boundaries".

When the time for discussion is up, make it clear to your arguing employee that the discussion has ended and it's time to move on. If they continue to argue, make it clear that this can be grounds for termination.

Some will try to further manipulate you with a response like "So you're threatening to fire me for having an opinion?"

Respond with:

"Wrong on two counts.

One, what you'd be fired for is continuing to do something you were told to stop doing. That's insubordination.

And two, managers don't fire employees. Employees fire themselves. Do you want to fire yourself?"

You have power. Don’t be afraid to use it.

To Your Success,

P.S. If this describes your spouse more than your employees, read "Boundaries in Marriage" by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

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